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Europe > Italy > Genoa

See: Why rent a car in Genoa ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in Genoa?

Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.

That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!

  • The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
  • How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
  • Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
  • Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?

Is it worth hiring a car in Genoa?

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Genoa car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.

How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Genoa with other destinations locally and around the world.

This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.

Should I rent a car in Genoa? 

This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Genoa, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

It would be too easy to dismiss Genoa entirely without taking a look at some of the sites of historic interest within. This is of course an ancient city with many stories to tell, but it doesn’t matter how long you want to spend here, there is simply no reason to get a car if your plan is to stay locally.

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. 

We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Genoa is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Genoa? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.


Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Genoa between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 4/10

Non car score:10/10

Balance: 3

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -


Heading out of Genoa, your attention will naturally point towards world-famous coastal villages like Portofino, which is around a one hour drive from Genoa, or to look towards the French border and the French Riviera behind it. But the chances are, if you are flying into Genoa, you won’t be looking west, since it’s actually far easier to fly into Nice.

Yet the real jewel in the crown that any visitor to this part of the world must see above everything else is the Cinque Terre National Park. This stunning UNESCO world Heritage site spans across 5 villages, yet by far the easiest way to get to and between them is by train. A hire car might get you to a congested car park on the edge of Manarola, but it is of little usage for driving in between the villages. The other option, besides the train and very tourist oriented (and priced accordingly) boat services, is to explore on foot, although walking times between each village can be deceptively(and of course enjoyably) slow.

From the Cinque Terre, it’s natural to continue onwards to Pisa and Florence, and the Cinque Terre is also included in our car hire advice guides for these two cities. Even a destination like Portofino only has limited access by car, although it doesn’t have a station either, so you would have to visit by bus from Rapallo.

Why? Visiting Genoa using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Genoa ?

  • Getting a hire car in Genoa might still be very useful if you want to head into the pre-Alps going towards Turin or even some parts of eastern Provence, although this is still usually better via Nice.
  • A hire car might also be useful for driving inland east from Genoa, but it is still anything but essential. Because the train here gives so much better access to the places which are most worth seeing, our recommendation is very much not to get a hire car in Genoa.
  • You can still visit the Cinque Terre with a car – you will just need to park on the edge of each village, or leave your car somewhere nearby and use a combination of train, boat and walking.

Why not? Visiting Genoa without a car

Why don't you need a car in Genoa ?

  • City of Genoa has excellent public transport, including small, but modern metro system.
  • Famous villages like Portofino are best explored on foot – local buses connect with rail services.
  • Cinque Terre is all about everything BUT driving – it’s best explored by train, it’s a walker’s paradise, and the villages can also be explored using a network of coastal paths.
  • Genoa is a major rail hub – easy onward train connections throughout northern Italy, and also into France.
  • There are some impressive cycling trails, using old railway lines near Genoa which have since been upgraded to a straighter alignment. The routes that have been left behind include some lovely short tunnels and spectacular sea views.

Ratings: How does Genoa compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Genoa? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Genoa, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?



Do you need to hire a car in Genoa? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Genoa (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Genoa? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel


Car hire basics:


Public transportation basics:


Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):


As you start ....

Does Genoa airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No






Has our advice for Genoa car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 2

2019 - 4

2021 - 3

Average score - 3




Do you or don't you need a car in Genoa ?

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